September 04, 2008
Abramoff sentenced

Jack Abramoff, the epicenter of Republican scandals from the Tom DeLay era, got his sentence today.

Jack Abramoff, the disgraced former lobbyist who orchestrated a wide-ranging scheme to corrupt several members of Congress, was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday afternoon.

Judge Ellen Huvelle ordered Abramoff to serve an additional 48 months on top of the two years he has already served for a separate case. She also ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $15 million.


Abramoff has been cooperating with prosecutors while serving almost two years in jail for his prosecution in another case involving wire fraud and the purchase of Florida casino cruise ships. The Justice Department investigation and prosecution landed former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) in jail and helped end the careers of several other members of Congress, including former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).

Huvelle said she is not concerned that Abramoff did not learn his lesson and might turn back to a life of crime. Her 48-month sentence was motivated by a desire to promote "respect for the law."

"This conduct spanned many years, going back to 1997," she said. "There was not just one victim, there were a series of victims. I feel the true victims are members of the public who lost their trust in government."

This has gone on so long that Ney has already served his jail time and been released. On the other hand, DeLay hasn't set foot in a courtroom yet, so I suppose in some sense it hasn't gone on that long.

I have reactions from Michael Skelly and Rep. Nick Lampson beneath the fold. Click on to read them.

From Lampson:

Conspiring to defraud the United States and corrupting public officials sent guilty Jack Abramoff to jail for four more years today and brought Tom "The Hammer" Delay's day in court one step closer.

Meanwhile, Pete Olson continues to surround himself with Tom DeLay's closest advisors, working overtime to clone himself after the dean of the culture of corruption. Olson employs several consultants who stood with DeLay through the scandal that ripped through America and has refused to denounce the actions of DeLay or his cronies.

"Pete Olson should immediately cut all ties with Tom Delay's cronies and return every tainted dime he received through that network," said Trevor Kincaid, Lampson spokesman. "It's clear that Pete Olson wants to return pay-to-play corruption to Washington and is will check ethics at the door if that's what it takes."

According to the most recent Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings, Olson paid $90,389 to consultants that advised Tom Delay. According to a Fort Bend Now article on July 16, 2008, Olson employed several consultants close to Delay's inner-circle. From April 1 thru June 30, 2008:

- Olson's campaign spent about $15,600 with Dana Benoit of Richmond, for fundraiser consulting services. Benoit served as DeLay's finance director for several years.

- Olson's campaign spent just over $9,000 with Walden & Associates of Houston, also for fundraising consulting. According to Source Watch, the firm is owned by Sue Walden, whom the New York Times described as a "close ally of Tom DeLay" who also served as an adviser to the late Ken Lay, former Enron chief executive.

- Olson's campaign also spent about $9,650 during the quarter with Marathon Strategic Communications, for media and "grassroots" consulting. The firm's address is listed at 3771 Vinecrest Drive in Dallas. Real estate records list the owner of the property at that address as Christopher Homan. Chris Homan was DeLay's former campaign manager.

From Skelly:

Successful wind energy businessman and Congressional candidate
Michael Skelly praised a federal judge's decision to sentence convicted lobbyist Jack
Abramoff to four years in prison. He also criticized John Culberson for voting against
the investigation that brought Abramoff to justice.

"Jack Abramoff was at the center of a culture of corruption that John Culberson enabled,"
said Skelly. "By voting against a Congressional investigation into Jack Abramoff,
Culberson sent a very clear message: business as usual in Washington, no matter how
crooked, is fine by him."

"John Culberson is a classic DC insider, the kind of politician who would stand with a
corrupt lobbyist instead of with the taxpayers he was elected to represent," added Skelly.

In 2006, Culberson voted against an immediate investigation by the House Ethics
Committee into the Jack Abramoff scandal.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 04, 2008 to Scandalized!

E-mail records were central to the investigation of Jack Abramoff. Electronic records are profoundly changing our society. They combat all manner of corruption and abuse of authority or privilege. --Ben

Posted by: Benjamin Wright on September 5, 2008 12:45 PM
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